2002 Dallas Observer Music Awards

These are your choices, not ours, for the best musicians in town

There's a reason bands like playing the Gypsy Tea Room: It's as homey as your grandmother's on Christmas morning and as roomy as your pants before Thanksgiving dinner. Like a red-wine sauce left for just the right amount of time on the burner, it all boils down to good taste, and the Gypsy bookers have the best in town. You think otherwise? Fine enough, you're welcome to spend your cash where you want--owners and audience alike. (Maybe we just don't jibe with Jibe, but neither should you.) Just compare the GTR's list of recent and forthcoming shows with everyone else's--Spiritualized, Jon Spencer Blue Explosion, Neil Halstead, Mark Eitzel, Luna, Jim White...and Mr. Show's David Cross--and do you really have to wonder why this venerable venue keeps skipping home with this doorstop? Didn't think so. --R.W.

Winner for: Blues

Not that you'd notice, Dallas and blues music go way back, from its role in Robert Johnson's limited recorded legacy and Leadbelly and Blind Lemon Jefferson's street-corner serenades in Deep Ellum to Steve Miller's apprenticeship with Aaron "T-Bone" Walker and Stevie Ray Vaughan's start. Unless you count a dance club called Blind Lemon (and you really shouldn't) and the SRV acolytes that pop up now and again, trying to start their own Texas flood, not much of that history is evident. But there's more there if you look for it: The nominees in this category--Josh Alan Band, Pops Carter & the Funkmonsters, Big Al Dupree, Jim Suhler and Monkey Beat--along with Anson Funderburgh and the Rockets, the Smokin' Joe Kubek Band, Mike Morgan and the Crawl, Lucky Peterson and Brian "Hash Brown" Calway, extend the timeline until the past meets the present.

Nancy Newberry
Tim DeLaughter
Mark Graham
Tim DeLaughter

For the second year in a row, the Silvertones are kings of this particular mountain, winning over crowds with their mix of souped-up standards ("Sneakin' Round Town"), hang-ten hip-shakers ("I Don't Care") and hot-sauce instrumentals ("Cruisin'," the title cut from the group's debut). The band--drummer-vocalist Randy Ball, guitarists Leo De La Vega and Walter Delesandri and bassist Brian Wicker--doesn't really challenge or change anyone's idea of what blues music should sound like, but it might make you pay attention to it again. --Z.C.

The Adventure Club
Winner for: Radio Program That Plays Local Music

There's enough music being made in Dallas right now (and some of it doesn't rhyme with Pompsky) to fill a dozen multi-hour radio shows per week, let alone the five nominated, only two of which (Live and Local on KYNG-FM and The Local Show on KEGL-FM) actually dedicate all their minutes to local bands. The other three (Tom Urquhart and Chris Bellomy's The Good Show on KTCU-FM, Russell Lyday's The Show That Fell to Earth on KNTU-FM and statue-winner Josh Venable's The Adventure Club on KDGE-FM) are run by guys who see local music on equal footing with all their other aural fixations, placing Centro-matic, Legendary Crystal Chandelier and Pleasant Grove alongside Oasis, Elvis Costello and XTC on their playlists. And pitting a block of Eniac against a marathon of Billy Bragg (as Venable did recently) is a greater compliment than a two-hour journey through the likes of Pushmonkey and Edgewater (which sounds more like a hostage situation to us).

Venable's been a local-music advocate away from the microphone as well, getting local bands added to The Edge's regular playlists and setting up an every-Thursday concert series, Edge Sessions at Club Clearview, which books established acts such as Slobberbone and The Deathray Davies, but also gives slots to bands like The Mona Jane and My Spacecoaster. In the end, however, this category is about the radio. And you, the voters, have shown you'll listen to The Bluetones and Ash just to hear an in-studio recording of Will Johnson playing acoustic. Even if it's the other way around, you're still getting a weekly dose of local music. And that's the point. --S.S.

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